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Dec 12, 2021 at 3.15pm UK
Garcia (14'), Avila (86')
Vidal (28'), Garcia (37'), Cruz (49'), Sanchez (56'), Garcia (67')
FT(HT: 1-1)
Gonzalez (12'), Ezzalzouli (49')
Gavi (74'), ter Stegen (83'), Pique (89'), Umtiti (90+6')

Preview: Osasuna vs. Barcelona - prediction, team news, lineups

:Headline: Preview: Osasuna vs. Barcelona - prediction, team news, lineups:
Sports Mole previews Sunday's La Liga clash between Osasuna and Barcelona, including predictions, team news and possible lineups.
Sports Mole

Barcelona will be looking to bounce back from successive defeats when they continue their La Liga campaign away to Osasuna on Sunday afternoon.

Xavi's side are currently seventh in Spain's top flight, 16 points behind the leaders Real Madrid, albeit with a game in hand, while Osasuna are 10th in the division, collecting 21 points from their first 16 games.

Match preview

Osasuna have won five, drawn six and lost five of their 16 La Liga matches this season to collect 21 points, which has left them in 10th position in the table, just two points behind their opponents this weekend.

Los Rojillos have finished 10th and 11th in their last two La Liga seasons, so it is not a surprise to see them in the top half at this stage, and as mentioned, a victory here would move them above Barcelona in the table.

Osasuna are actually winless in Spain's top flight since the middle of October, drawing four and losing three of their last seven games at this level, including a 0-0 with Levante last weekend.

Jagoba Arrasate's side did book their spot in the second round of the Copa del Rey earlier this month, though, recording a 4-0 victory over San Agustin to comfortably progress in the competition.

Osasuna have not beaten Barcelona on home soil in La Liga since February 2012, but they did record a famous 2-1 victory at Camp Nou in July 2020, and it would be fair to say that this is not a classic Blaugrana side.

Barcelona failed to qualify for the last-16 stage of the Champions League, instead dropping into the Europa League, courtesy of their 3-0 defeat at Bayern Munich on Wednesday, which opened the door for Benfica to secure second spot in Group E behind the Bundesliga champions.

Xavi had made a positive start at the helm, winning two of his first three matches, but the Catalan giants lost 1-0 at home to Real Betis in the league last weekend before suffering the three-goal defeat at Allianz Arena.

Barcelona are currently seventh in La Liga, 16 points behind leaders Real Madrid, meaning that their title hopes have already evaporated, but they are only six points off fourth-placed Atletico Madrid and will still believe that a top-four position is achievable despite their problems.

Xavi will have known the size of the task when he replaced Ronald Koeman, and the legendary midfielder needs to lift the players following Wednesday's European disappointment, with three league games to come against Osasuna, Elche and Sevilla ahead of the winter break in Spain.

Blaugrana have only managed one away victory in La Liga this term, which came at Villarreal on November 27, but they beat Osasuna 2-0 in the corresponding match during the 2021-22 campaign.

Osasuna La Liga form:
  • D
  • L
  • L
  • L
  • D
  • D

Osasuna form (all competitions):
  • L
  • L
  • L
  • D
  • W
  • D

Barcelona La Liga form:
  • L
  • D
  • D
  • W
  • W
  • L

Barcelona form (all competitions):
  • D
  • W
  • D
  • W
  • L
  • L

Team News

Osasuna will again be without the services of Jesus Areso due to a wrist injury, while Juan Perez is a doubt for the home side, as he battles a muscular problem.

Head coach Arrasate played a back five against Levante last time out but could revert to a four-man defence here, with Ruben Garcia and Kike Barja potentially returning in midfield.

Kike is expected to overcome a knock in time for Sunday's contest, but the forward could potentially be on the bench, with Ante Budimir and Ezequiel Avila featuring as the front two.

As for Barcelona, a lengthy injury list still includes Martin Braithwaite, Ansu Fati, Pedri, Sergi Roberto and Sergio Aguero, while Jordi Alba and Memphis Depay are out with the injuries that they picked up against Bayern.

Dani Alves is still not eligible to play, meaning that Xavi has issues in the full-back areas, with Sergino Dest and Oscar Mingueza potentially operating at right-back and left-back respectively here.

Barcelona will need to determine whether Ousmane Dembele is fit enough to start another match in quick succession following his injury issues, but the Frenchman could be included in a front three alongside Yusuf Demir and Gavi.

Should Gavi, as expected, be moved forward then there might be a spot in the middle of the park for Nico Gonzalez, who has been a regular for the Catalan giants this season.

Osasuna possible starting lineup:
Herrera; Vidal, U Garcia, D Garcia, Sanchez; Barja, Torro, Brasanac, R Garcia; Avila, Budimir

Barcelona possible starting lineup:
Ter Stegen; Dest, Araujo, Pique, Mingueza; F de Jong, Busquets, Nico; Gavi, Demir, Dembele

We say: Osasuna 1-2 Barcelona

It is difficult to back Barcelona to win at the moment, especially away from home, but we believe that there will be a reaction from their Champions League exit. Osasuna are more than capable of picking up a positive result here, though, and it is likely to be a very tight match on Sunday afternoon.

Top tip

Our expert tipster partners at Sporita.com are predicting over 2.5 goals in this match. Click here to find out what else they are predicting for this game and for more of their tried-and-tested football tips.Over 2.5:data

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